[Ninja Obstacle Sports]2028 Olympic Games debut: climbing walls and overcoming obstacles…

[Ninja Obstacle Sports]2028 Olympic Games debut: climbing walls and overcoming obstacles…


(Hong Kong News) Climbing hills with bare hands, swinging with ropes, grabbing walls with your fingers, and flying over walls like a ninja are the ninja obstacle sports that have emerged in recent years.

The International Modern Pentathlon Federation implemented last year to replace equestrian with an event similar to the ninja obstacle course, and form a new modern pentathlon with fencing, shooting, running and swimming, which will debut at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

The practice of “Ninjutsu” emphasizes physical coordination, speed, balance, and explosive power. Each level has its own difficulty. How can you overcome the obstacles and become a modern ninja?

If you have watched the Japanese variety show “Sasuke” or the European and American adaptation of Ninja Warrior, you should be familiar with the ninja obstacle sport. Participants compete within a time limit to fly over walls and pass multiple obstacles.

Due to the extremely high physical requirements, the program attracted many athletes to participate, and gradually evolved into a specialized sport. It not only had special training venues, but also spawned professional players, and even became part of the Olympic projects four years later.

Crawling by finger strength requires balance

The International Federation of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) announced last year that it would set up an obstacle course at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics inspired by the ninja obstacle course, replacing equestrian as one of the modern pentathlon events. Although the official specifications and obstacle events have not yet been announced, based on the test competition held last year, the format is similar to the ninja obstacle course.

10 kinds of obstacles are distributed on the straight track. Participants must run across the inclined board, grasp the ring and swing forward, walk quickly across the balance beam, etc., and finally climb up the curved high platform with bare hands to stop the timer to complete the event.

“Ninja obstacle sports combine gymnastics, rock climbing and parkour.” Sports coach Zhong Yanyang started to get involved in this sport in 2017. He pointed out that some levels require balance like gymnastics, and some require finger crawling like rock climbing. , and some swing their bodies forward on the pole like a leap. The exercise involves muscles throughout the body, such as thighs, lower back, forearms, finger muscles, and especially the core muscles.

Physiotherapist Jianuo Wu

Dead Bug Pose Training Helps Stabilize the Lumbar Spine

Physiotherapist Wu Jianuo pointed out that ninja obstacle sports have high requirements on the physical quality of the contestants. “In the diverse levels, it is necessary to combine the strength of the whole body. Physical coordination is also very important. For example, contestants must know how to control the body. Use the swing to create momentum and move forward in mid-air.” He believes that this type of movement is more difficult and requires not only strength, but also hand-eye coordination to accurately catch the next target.

Taking the hanging ring as an example, it relies on the swing of the body to generate power to catch the next target in mid-air, which requires the explosive power of the upper body and core strength. It also requires continuous power output. In addition to testing the muscle strength of the hands and shoulders, muscle endurance is also important.

“On the other hand, the forward swing movement involves the strength of the core muscles, involving the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and transversus abdominis, to maintain the stability of the lumbar spine and control the strength, direction and amplitude of the abdomen. If you want to perform better, it is recommended to do Deadbug action training can improve the stability of the lumbar spine and make the power to control abdominal swing more concentrated.”

He reminded that this kind of level may cause wrist injuries. Repeated lifting movements in daily training may also easily cause shoulder pain, such as shoulder pinch syndrome. This symptom is also common in poor posture, such as excessive forward tilt of the cervical spine, or due to muscle incoordination, insufficient neck muscle strength, and excessively tight chest muscles.

Step on the incline to keep your pelvis stable

As for the ground obstacle level, such as running across the inclined board quickly, Wu Jianuo pointed out that the key to passing the level is not only explosive power and speed, but also the stability of the pelvis when stepping on the inclined board, and the balance on one foot.

“If the pelvis is unstable when jumping and landing, it will easily cause the body to tilt and fall; and the balance of one foot is insufficient, and the landing will be unstable.”

He pointed out that if you want to train your balance in daily life, the easiest way is to stand on one foot, or the advanced version of standing on one foot with your eyes closed. If you want to improve your explosive power and speed, it is recommended to receive plyometric training to strengthen the jumping movements of your lower body, such as using Use box jumps, hurdles or weighted vests to enhance jumping power and leg explosive power.

Insufficient muscle stability makes it easy to fall

Obstacle sports involve different types of levels. He believes that the most important thing is to master the basic skills first and enhance stability before seeking speed. “If the muscle strength or stability is not enough, it will be easy to fall or get injured such as a sprain.”

Although there is still some time before the 2028 Olympics, there are many places in Hong Kong in recent years where you can experience the ninja obstacle course.

The types of obstacles vary, and the training ground opened by Zhong Yanyang has nearly 40 tests.

He pointed out that obstacles can be roughly divided into four categories:

1. Speed ​​type

You need to quickly pass obstacles, such as running across inclined boards and climbing up curved high platforms with bare hands.

Example: Four steps

How to play: Participants need to jump over 4 inclined boards in a row. The distance between the inclined boards in the practice field is 97 cm. The distance between the inclined boards in the competition is generally 1.2 to 1.5 meters.

Experience: Test reaction, coordination of feet, distance judgment, speed, etc. For example, how big should the stride be, whether one foot or both feet are on the pedal, etc. It requires on-the-spot judgment. Zhong Yanyang said: “The ankle is most likely to be injured due to this obstacle. If the place you step on is uneven, it may be sprained; followed by the knee, or injured when you lose balance and fall.” Physiotherapist Wu Jianuo suggested that you can use a box instead at home on weekdays. Obstacles, jump on the box repeatedly to train ankle balance.

2. Balanced type

Walking on thin crossbars, steel pipes, flat belts, etc.

Example: Slackline (flat belt)

How to play: Walk from one end of the webbing to the other.

Experience: Zhong Yanyang said: “Many novices unconsciously tighten their necks and lock their muscles in the hope that they will not fall. However, after locking their muscles, their bodies are more likely to swing, which makes them more likely to fall.” The risk of injury is not high, and it can only be done if you can walk well. Lose your balance too quickly and you may sprain your ankle when you land. He taught the way, and the flat straps were highly elastic, allowing you to open and raise your hands to maintain balance while relaxing your knees.

3. Power type

It involves more upper limb muscles and swinging movements, relying on swinging to create power.

Example: Pegboard

How to play: Grasp the two handles with both hands, and hang the whole person in mid-air. Each time you move, lock one muscle first, then pull the other handle out of the board and insert it into the next hole. The body keeps swinging from side to side to push forward.

Thoughts: This exercise requires more muscle strength, such as back muscles, biceps, core muscles and shoulders. Zhong Yanyang pointed out that the trick is to lock one hand and stabilize one side of the body before inserting the handle into the board hole more accurately. The risk of injury in this event is not high, “because the movements are slower, but for those who have overtrained, it may be more likely to strain muscles.”

4.Finger force type

It can create swing power, but the hand contact points are more difficult, such as very narrow wooden bars, which mainly test the finger muscle strength.

Example: Cliff hanger

How to play: Hold on to a 4 cm wide wooden bar, hang your whole body in mid-air, and then move to the next wooden bar. When moving, swing your body left and right to push forward.

Thoughts: The wooden bars are more difficult to grasp only with your fingers. It mainly involves finger muscles, as well as forearm and back muscles. Zhong Yanyang pointed out that children may perform better than adults in this project because their bodies are lighter and their hands are smaller, making it easier for them to grasp the wooden bars.

Warm up beforehand

Rejuvenate muscles and protect lumbar spine

Ninja obstacle sports involve the strength of the whole body. Physical therapist Wu Jianuo reminds that you need to do a full body warm-up before playing to “wake up” the muscles, protect the lumbar spine, and coordinate the upper and lower bodies to improve sports performance. Sports coach Zhong Yanyang recommends the following warm-up:

1. Knee jump

Lift your knees and jump to waist height, ideally reaching your chest. When landing, do 10 reps with the forefoot touching the ground but the heel not touching the ground.

2. After pulling with both hands

Lift the fingers of both hands and extend your arms upwards, try to pull your arms behind your ears, keeping your hands straight during this period, and finally stand on tiptoes for 10 to 20 seconds; open your shoulder blades, and when doing rocking movements, the swing range can be larger.

Text: Chen Zhenji, Zhang Shumei Photography/Deng Jiaxuan’s “Ming Pao”



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